welcome to imagine!

Welcome to our 5th festival where politics and the arts coalesce to bring you a unique way of imagining the future of this great city. We look forward to welcoming you to our biggest ever programme of performance, discussion and debate taking place across Belfast.

We hope you will join us in debating and considering the big issues of our troubled times including new ideas on politics, culture and activism. There’s something for everyone in this eclectic programme, as we try to make sense of this volatile world. Events include workshops, talks, exhibitions, film screenings, performance art, music, theatre, poetry, tours, and comedy with most events free.

We were delighted that so many individuals and groups submitted ideas for events this year, particularly from young people, so look out for the Artivist Academy which we will be organising in May to support inexperienced campaigners and event organisers. We are also running a tongue in cheek competition where you can send us photos of your ‘wood pellet’ sculptures – which will be posted on our Instagram page. There’s a £200 prize for the best entrant. And if you want to get involved with this year’s festival, the are plenty of ways you can contribute to the festival.

As a non-profit organisation, reflective of the wider community, the festival has been put together by a team of volunteers and our thanks are due to our wonderful funders, collaborators, performers, speakers, board members and advisory committee members for their generous support. We don’t have any staff or an office so please consider making a donation via our website to allow us to run future events.

Enjoy the festival and I look forward to seeing you at the events.

Peter O’Neill, Festival Director

our mission

Our mission is to excite people’s minds and passions by organising an inspiring annual programme of performance, discussion and debate.

our aims

Our key aims are to provide a high quality showcase for new ideas on politics, culture and activism in Northern Ireland; to encourage the participation of under-represented groups in political/cultural debate and discussion; to stimulate reflection and debate on difficult and controversial issues; to promote free speech.

the detail

The week-long series of events is aimed at engaging people in political/cultural discussion and debate in the broadest sense. The festival seeks to cover a wide spectrum of issues including, but certainly not limited to, mainstream political debate.

The festival is a registered charity (NIC101004) organised by a team of volunteers with no staff or major administration costs. The inaugural event was held in March 2015. This year’s programme was developed following an open call for event suggestions during November 2018.

We are not aligned with any political party or particular interest group. Although initially based in Belfast, we would like to extend the festival to other parts of Northern Ireland. We don’t receive corporate funding: instead we are supported by our partners and individual donations – so please feel generous!

Participation in the festival is open to all and while the main debates will not be party-political, groups and individuals are encouraged to debate those ‘difficult’ and contentious issues that normally don’t air in public discussion. We are keen to hear from people who are interested in politics / culture and we welcome suggestions for speakers and subjects no matter how controversial.

our values

  • We value the active participation of citizens in our festival.
  • We will promote free speech, cultural diversity and equality.
  • We strive to challenge, inspire and inform by programming a variety of innovative events and performances.
  • We will be accessible and ensure participation from all sections of the community in our activities.
  • Our festival will be affordable, and will include the programming of free events.
  • We will work in partnership and collaboration with like-minded individuals and agencies; speakers and performers; venues and other interests.
  • We will support and nurture home grown contributors and the participation of under-represented groups in the festival.
  • We will promote the value and authenticity of our heritage and cultural traditions.


We value your feedback on this festival. Let us know what you think about the way we have developed this and any suggestions you may have on how to improve the festival in the future.